The Introvert Entrepreneur by Beth Buelow

Introvert entrepreneurIf you are an introvert like me who is interested in business then the title of this book will attract you. Even more the information on the book’s back will reassure you that as an introvert you can also succeed in business. Here’s what it says:

Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos are often grouped together as some of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time, but they also have something else in common – they are all introverts.

While that statement is encouraging to the prospective introvert entrepreneur, I also wanted to find out what business advice Beth has to offer.

This book is a bit on the chunky side with 260 pages, 9 chapters and further sections on:

– Ten steps to success as an introvert entrepreneur
– Online resources
– Recommended reading

A very useful and interesting aspect of the book are the sessions written at the end of each chapter by other introvert entrepreneurs called, Introvert Entrepreneur Focus. These stories give you the perspective and experience of someone different from the author and emphasize how the chapter’s topic  works in reality.

I like the fact that even Chris Guillebeau of $100 startup described the book as a useful toolkit for other introvert entrepreneurs like himself. If you are an introvert and you are interested in this book, following is a taste of what you will learn from it. I have briefly reviewed each chapter.

Chapter One – Introversion 101: What does it mean to be an introvert entrepreneur?
This chapter starts by explaining what an introvert actually is with the aim of dispelling the wrong perception people have about introverts. It also describes some key qualities of introverts. It has an interesting section on how to close the communication gap with introverts, discusses the strengths of introverts and ends with the challenges introvert entrepreneurs face. Some of those challenges are:
– Networking
– Self-promotion
– Isolation and collaboration

Chapter Two – Fear, doubt and other icky stuff most entrepreneurs don’t want to talk about
This chapter is all about dealing with fear and some of the things you will learn here are:
– understanding that we can’t be fearless but we can handle fear
– identifying your FUDs (fear, uncertainty and doubts)
– bringing your FUDs into the open
– dealing with your FUDs
Distinguishing between fear and discomfort is discussed and some ways to manage and work with your fears are covered.

Chapter Three – Finding your voice
The focus of this chapter can be summarized with this statement: Any entrepreneur who expects to build a thriving business must have two things: clarity of purpose and awareness of core values. This chapter is about being clear about who you are as an introvert and not trying to be someone else. I see it as valuing yourself as an introvert and running your business your way.

Chapter Four – You must be present to win: Networking for the introvert entrepreneur
This is the longest chapter in the book because it deals with an area most introverts find challenging: networking. This chapter is full of strategies to help introverts network such as:
– just showing up
– listening
– using curiosity
– observations
And there is more including a section titled, effective networking, introvert style.

Chapter Five – But I’m not a salesperson
For me this is a follow on from the previous chapter because not a lot of introverts like selling. This is a chapter all introverts should read because it will give you some ways to improve your sales skills. Here are some of the section titles in the chapter:
– why introverts are natural sales people
– five steps to transforming your superpowers into sales
– how do I create a strategy for my content

Chapter Six – It takes a village
An introvert entrepreneur still needs to connect to people and this chapter explains how that can happen. Various ways that introvert entrepreneurs can connect to others and promote their business are explained.

Chapter Seven – When two heads are better than one
This chapter is all about collaboration. While it might be great to work alone as an introvert entrepreneur, there will be times when it is necessary to collaborate. Not only is the time when it is necessary to collaborate explained here, but also different ways to collaborate, some of the challenges of collaboration, practices of effective collaboration and what to do when you are ready to collaborate.

Chapter Eight – Business expansion: Bigger and better, introvert-style
Advice on how to expand a business at the appropriate time and some ways to do it is the focus of this chapter.

Chapter Nine – Accelerating failure, staying in your comfort zone, and other ways to set yourself up for success
The first section in this chapter is titled: You miss every shot you don’t take. Very true. You are challenged here not to overlook the opportunity to take actions that build and expand your business even if the actions are sometimes uncomfortable. There is also advice on how to expand your capacity as an introvert entrepreneur. To do more, but in a sustainable way.

This is a book every introvert in business or introverts planning to get into business should read. It has some very valuable information and it is definitely not your typical startup or entrepreneurial book. Well done Beth.

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